Since we’ve had kids, it’s gotten harder and harder to make sure we get that quality time. Between jobs, households, church, life; you come home to children that you absolutely adore, but you really miss that one on one time with your spouse.
Honestly, by the time the kids are asleep, we’re barely holding on ourselves. So how do you keep that spark alive when you’re children seem to be pretty successful at stomping it out? Taking time to date your spouse is important, even when you have kids. Which is why we’ve put together this list of tips for dating your spouse when you have small children.
I know how hard it is to make that time for each other. After 7 years of marriage and nearly 3 kids later, we’re still working on maintaining our relationship. That’s something that should never end, being sure that we are meeting each other’s needs and are both taken care of.
Back in the beginning of our Dating Your Spouse Series, we talked about how dating your spouse is more than courting or preparing for marriage. Dating your spouse is an important part of cultivating the relationship that you grew during that period, it’s about continuing the investment you made into each other.
But when you have small kids, making that one-on-one time happen with your spouse can be a struggle. One thing that I’ve learned is that you can spend quality time as a family, and it can totally count as a date. Because this is your life now, and while I don’t recommend this ALL the time, you can definitely swing it when you’re in a pinch.
Tips for Dating Your Spouse When You Have Small Children
1. Date at home
It’s been months since you’ve had a date night; you’re married, you’ve got kids, you’ve got jobs, time is short. Forget the planning, the babysitter expense, gas, reservations, travel time loss, and everything that comes with a regular date night. Instead, plan a date right in the comfort of your own home.
You can totally do this. Get the kids up early, skip the nap, put them to bed early, get them babies out the way and stay up like it’s 1999. Our 9 at-home date night ideas is a great place to start! Even if you can’t put the kids to bed early, wing-it. Let the kids be a part of the fun for a little while. Turn the tv off, put away the electronics, turn off the phones, and have a home game night until the kids get tired. Afterwards, you can take that time together.
2. Do a kid-friendly activity
I’m not talking about Chuck “E” Cheese, where parents sit back and watch the kids have all the fun and definitely not to the park where you’ve got to keep a hawk eye on your kids to make sure the crazy pants stay away, all while your arms feel like their gonna fall off from pushing the swing a bazillion times. I’m talking about somewhere where everyone can have fun.
Just recently we took the kids to a jump zone in Baton Rouge, and we had a blast! The kids loved it, we joined in on the fun, we laughed and cut up so much! We were totally able to wear the kids out and put them in bed early, which also allowed us a little more time together. I know what you’re thinking though, “How’s that a D-A-T-E?”. But when I think about going on a date with My Mr., I think about being able to enjoy each others company, I think about seeing him laugh and smile and enjoying a meal or an activity together. That’s exactly what we did. We may have had the kids with us, but they were such a reminder of what we’ve made together, a family.
3. Invest as much as you can in your spouse
How many times have you had time with your spouse, and you sat on your phone. I’m guilty, it’s totally me. Seriously, set aside the distractions and focus on each other. You know what makes me the happiest? I love it when my husband helps me accomplish a task that needed to be done. Like washing the dishes at the end of the day. It’s like a mini-date where we do something together and we chat about things we did that day, thoughts we had that week, and so on. I’m not saying washing the dishes is fun, but it sure makes me feel good when I’ve got My Man standing there by me, and we’re talking without electronics.
So investing in your spouse isn’t about money, it’s about investing time in each other. Create “mini dates”, ways that you can spend time together, even when the kids are around. Challenge each other to a task, like who can solve a puzzle first. Play a game together. Watch home videos. Read a book together. Cook a meal or drink a cup of coffee together. Put set aside the distractions and spend all the time you can together.
4. Hire a dang babysitter
I’m talking to myself here. Just bite the bullet and do it. Find someone you trust, someone reliable, someone with references. Do a background check. (Kidding. Or not.) On a serious note though, it’s worth it. You need this time together, even if it’s once a month, you should make time for it.
I’m the first to say that I hate asking someone to watch my kids for me. As a stay-at-home mom, I also hate spending money on child-care. But there are some instances where I say it’s worth it and this is one of them. Tend to that relationship with your spouse and put Christ first, it will be the sure foundation that a long-lasting marriage relies on.
There are so many distractions in this life that can take up our time and attention. If you’re not sure why you should be dating your spouse, you need to read this: 5 Reasons Why You Should Date Your Spouse. Our dating your spouse is a simple mini-series that can help push you to look forward to making that time together!